Balancing a full-time job with one’s family caregiving responsibilities can be challenging. A recent study investigated how supportive work resources affect caregivers’ well-being and their effectiveness as a care provider.
In a study of 764 employed, Japanese family caregivers, researchers investigated how aspects of their work enriched their caregiving roles. Study participants were 51 years of age on average, provided daily care to a person with dementia (average 33 hours per week), and most were employed full-time. They completed a survey at baseline, six months, and one year. The survey assessed caregiving demands, work resources such as job control, supervisor support and coworker support, overall well-being, and work-family enrichment. Work-family enrichment measured how experiences and skills developed in one’s job enriched their family caregiving role.
Results showed that greater supervisor support (a work resource) at baseline was associated with greater work-family enrichment at six months. However, greater work-family enrichment at six months did not have an effect on well-being at one year. Job control and coworker support did not play a role in caregivers’ enrichment or well-being.
These findings underscore the importance of support from one’s supervisor in the workplace, particularly for employees who spend much of their time away from work in a family caregiving role. While supervisor support did not have a direct impact on well-being in this study, it did appear to help participants to be better caregivers. Most participants were office workers who did not have caregiving or related responsibilities at work, so these findings may be more widely applicable than to only employees of older adult services organizations.
With growing need for family caregivers, both in Japan and around the world, it will be increasingly important for employers to consider how best to support their workers who have significant care responsibilities at home. Supervisor support has been shown to have an impact, but there may be other areas that employers can focus on as well.
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Morimoto H and Takebayashi Y. Antecedents and outcomes of enrichment among working family caregivers of people with dementia: A longitudinal analysis. The Journals of Gerontology, Series B 2021; 76(6), 1060-1070.